State TV aired footage of Mr. Sharmahd interspersed with footage from the moment of the 2008 explosion at the Shiraz mosque. Mr. Sharmahd’s face appeared swollen and the style of the footage resembled that used In one of the more than 350 coerced confessions that a rights group says the broadcaster has aired over the last decade.
The Intelligence Ministry has not said what charges Mr. Sharmahd will face. Prisoners earlier accused In the same attack were sentenced to death and executed.
The Kingdom Assembly of Iran, known In Farsi as Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran, and Tondar seek to restore Iran’s monarchy, which ended when the fatally ill Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi fled the country In 1979 just before its Islamic Revolution. The California-based group’s founder disappeared In the mid-2000s.
Iranian intelligence operatives In the past have used family members and other tricks to lure targets back to Iran or to friendly countries to be captured. An alleged Iranian government operative who is the accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill Mr. Sharmahd disappeared In 2010 before facing trial In California, likely having returned to Iran.
According to a 2010 U.S. diplomatic cable from London, later published by WikiLeaks, a Voice of America commentator said that same operative had earlier been In contact with him. The British antiterror police later warned the commentator that he “had been targeted by the Iranian regime,” the cable said.
The two cases represented “a clear escalation In the regime’s attempts to intimidate critics outside its borders, and could have a chilling effect on journalists, academics and others In the West who until recently felt little physical threat from the regime,” the cable said.
Mr. Sharmahd last appeared In an online livestream video on Dec. 29, according to his group’s website, speaking In Farsi while sitting In a black chair In front of a black background.